Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Low Anthem, the Old FruitMarket 28th January 2010

Haunting and even spiritual - they play their music with flexible bass and lots of space. Their lead singer has one of those perfect high tenor voices. They describe their music as Alternative or folk rock. The Low Anthem played their enriching Americana and minimalist rock to an appreciative audience at the Old Fruitmarket Glasgow. The band consists of Ben Knox Miller, a folk musician, Jeff Prystowsky, a jazz bassist and composer Jocie Adams.

They played tracks from their third self-released album, 2008's Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. This album was named Album of the Month by Uncut and was also nominated for the 2009 Uncut Music Award. For me the stand out songs were "Charlie Darwin" " To Ohio" and "Yellowed by the Sun." The band also picked the energy of the set up and performed some jazzier and rockier tunes.

They play around 30 instruments between them – including zither, pump organ, Tibetan singing bowl, trumpet, banjo and clarinet – and have influences such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Tom Waits. To give you an idea the Low Anthem is now travelling with - WWI portable pump organ, harmonium, AJ & HH 29" thunder drum, nipple gong, 3 clarinets, a really big fiddle, E flat marching horn, sizzling set of crotales, electricity aided guitar, rusty saw, accordion, 2 fiddles...and enough harmonicas to summon a swarm of locusts - apparently!

They met at Brown university and the band made me think of hippies and various influences from Connor Obrest, the Shins to the Eagles. I enjoyed the ethereal and atmospheric nature of their live performance - low key yet also uplifting. There was very much a student/indie music crowd at this gig. It was worth seeing them live, and I recommend checking them out.

They were ably supported by Fraser Anderson a singer-songwriter from Edinburgh who is now living in France, and is due to release his third album, 151, in January 2010.